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October 26, 2013
• Allianz-Arena, München
Referee: M. Weiner
• Attendance: 71000
M. Mandžukić 29', 51'
M. Götze 54'
A. Ramos 4'
Ä. Ben-Hatira 58'
That's my cue folks, it' been a pleasure. Till next time.
All praise must go to Hertha for pushing the Bundesliga champs all the way in their own back yard. Had a few breaks gone their way; Ramos' shot an inch lower, or Alaba penalized for his foul at the end, they may have well came out of the Allianz Arena with a point. But a Mandzukic double and a further Gotze effort was just enough to see the hosts over the finish line.
90' + 3'
And that's it! Bayern get there in the end. 3-2 at full time.
90' + 2'
Alaba is a lucky, lucky boy. Ramos had the step on him, sprinting through on goal, and the Austrian clipped the forward clumsily, sending him to the turf. You would not have argued with the referee sending Alaba off for that as a last-man foul, but after some consideration, he allows play to continue, to the fury of Hertha.
Yellow Card Per Ciljan Skjelbred
Mandzukic gets clipped, and Hertha are awarded yet another yellow card.
Mandzukic is doing really well defending from the front, dropping into his own half when needed and even drifting to the wings to help out Ribery on occasion.
Ronny Heberson Furtado de Araújo
Credit to Hertha for using what little is left in their tank to endeavor to win the ball back and get it forward, but their hopes of an equaliser are fading fast. Bayern do not look to be in too much danger.
Bayern try to settle their nerves at the other end of the pitch after that minor scare. Rafinha nearly squeezes in a good cross at the near post, but Kraft is there to intercept.
CLOSE SHAVE! Van Buyten goes in with a late challenge on Hosogai, who was sprinting through at the top of the box. Luckily for the Belgian, he came in too late, missing both the ball and the man. Hosogai still goes down in a heap, but the referee is perfectly placed to spot that there was no infraction.
Hertha slowly running out of gas as Bayern strangle the life out of this game with simple, efficient, safety-first possession. Guardiola is still screaming and gesticulating like a madman on the touchline though, so there's still a lot of maneuvering going on, even though it doesn't look like it.
Johannes van den Bergh
Doubly important for Bayern to close this game out now, as Dortmund are flying high with a 3-1 lead against Schalke in their concurrent Bundesliga clash.
Really nothing happening on the pitch, with Die Roten taking the sting out of this game excellently. Hertha chasing shadows all over.
I'm talking about him again, but Martinez has changed this game markedly since his arrival. He's broken up two attacks by himself already, and is dovetailing well with Schweinsteiger. This has been a substitution clinic from Guardiola today, with Mandzukic, Gotze and Martinez all influencing the game. Although looking at the caliber of that trio, perhaps it's not such a master stroke from the Spaniard.
Skjelbred down on the deck clutching his ankle in some distress. He gets to his feet gingerly, but definitely a pattern for Jos Luhukay to keep an eye on. The midfielder has been quietly impressive for the visitors, but should he need to depart, Luhukay has all three of his subs at his disposal.
The addition of Martinez has given Bayern a more secure base on which to perform. They've starved Hertha of the ball in the last few minutes, keeping the visiting side pinned squarely in their own half.
The shot count illustrates the precarious nature of Bayern's situation in this match, as Hertha have matched their nine attempts on goal with nine of their own (via Whoscored).
RAMOS! The Colombian nearly strikes again, reacting quickest to a punt up field to flash a stinging drive over the bar. No chance for Neuer had that been a foot or two lower!
Yellow Card Peter Pekarik
Smart move by Pep to bring on Martinez for Muller. The German international has not had the most involved game, and Martinez will add another wrinkle of much-needed protection for the shaky defensive duo of Boateng and Van Buyten.
Bayern just trying to slow play down for the next few minutes as Hertha look at their most dangerous.
Hats off to Ramos by the way, the Colombian forward has led the line superbly for Hertha. It's never an easy task for a forward to keep his concentration and interest in a game where his side see so little of the ball, but his movement and hold-up play has been stellar. Boateng and Van Buyten have not been able to stroll through this game.
Assist A. Ramos
Goal Änis Ben-Hatira
A goal borne out of sheer determination for the visitors. Schulz's driving run down the left was key, as was Ramos' touch to the resulting cross ahead of Van Buyten. From there, Ben-Hatira simply stuck out a leg to turn the ball home from little over six yards out!
HERTHA PULL ONE BACK!
Hard to see a way back for Hertha here, unless they go straight for the headshot from here on out. They really have nothing left to lose, Bayern in this mood can easily knock up a half dozen goals.
Goal Mario Götze
Gotze keeps the good times rolling for Bayern and Pep Guardiola, who has seen both of his subs do the damage here. Yet another headed goal, the fourth of the game. Rafinha's cross is met by the former Dortmund man at the far post, and he guides the header into the far side. Once again, you can point a finger at Kraft for not having got a hand to that effort, it was not exactly traveling at warp speed.
BAYERN HAVE ANOTHER!
After a shaky start, Schweinstiger is trampling all over Hertha in front of his own people. Last-ditch tackles, defence-breaking free-kicks, he's done it all.
Yellow Card A. Ramos
Assist Bastian Schweinsteiger
Goal Mario Mandzukic
Can we call him a super-sub even if he came on in the first half? I'm doing it anyway. Super-sub Mandzukic comes up with the goods once again, rising earliest to a Schweinsteiger free-kick to head home for the second time in the game. And once again, Kraft is found wanting. That was not a particularly powerful or placed header from Mandzucic.
Yellow Card Rafinha
Yellow Card Hajime Hosogai
Hertha are ominous again from the resulting corner, with Lustenberger planting a free header just over the bar!
WHAT A BLOCK! A flowing Hertha move, started when Ramos held the ball up well against Van Buyten, progresses with the ball played by Ben Hatira to the completely unmarked Cigerci on the left. He's about to smash home the go-ahead goal, but Schweinsteiger does magnificently to deflect that shot over the bar!
Schweinsteiger, heavily involved throughout, goes chasing back to cover the threat of Ramos on the run. He successfully shepherds the striker away from danger, but he may have gotten away with a forearm shiver.
Here we go again folks...
Not quite the all conquering Bayern performance we might have expected after their exploits midweek against Plzen. Hertha stole an early lead through Ramos and certainly made life difficult for the hosts in the opening quarter of an hour or so. But Guardiola's troops weathered the storm, steadied themselves, and hit back through the substitute Mandzukic. It's finely poised for the second half, but with two of his subs already used up, Guardiola does not have much room left to maneuver. Stay tuned for the restart.
45' + 2'
That's it for the first half as the ref signals for the break.
45' + 1'
Schweinsteiger does well to keep the ball glued to his boot at the top of the box. Spotting Muller in space, he slides the ball ahead, but the latter read his intentions all wrong, and it's out for a goal kick.
Two minutes of added time to wrap up the half.
OH MULLER! Alaba with a much better delivery, this time from open play, and Muller ghosts in front of Van den Bergh to meet his cross from six yards out, but cannot steer it on target!
Alaba lines up the set piece, but cannot beat the visitors' wall. Disappointing.
After being unfairly penalized by the referee moments ago, Schweinstiger decides to take justice into his own hands, falling softly to win a free kick.
Die Roten continue to tighten the noose around an increasingly brittle Hertha neck. The addition of Mandzukic has given the hosts a more natural focal point up front. Muller too looks more dangerous with his increased freedom on the flanks.
Langkamp saves the day for Hertha, with a sliding challenge to intercept Muller's break through on goal! Gotze set that play in motion with a perfectly timed pass.
Yellow Card Bastian Schweinsteiger
Schweinsteiger looks to have made a spot-on tackle on Hosogai to halt a dangerous Hertha advance, but the referee pulls play back to award the midfielder a yellow card.
Nothing stopping Bayern from opening the floodgates now, it seems. The first ten minutes aside, they've been completely dominant.
Assist Franck Ribéry
Goal Mario Mandzukic
Both goals in this game have now come via set pieces, as Ribery's free kick from the right is bent towards the far post, where Mandzukic has a surprising amount of time to rise and head home. Kraft, so splendid minutes ago, was caught in no man's land.
MANDZUKIC RIGHT AWAY! 1-1!
Yellow Card Jerome Boateng
In any case, this will give the Bayern frontline a more balanced look. Muller will be annexed into Robben's vacated spot on the right, while Manduzkic will take the reins up front.
It's Robben who departs for the Coroatian hitman. I can only assume that Robben is carrying some an injury, and that the substitution was nothing more than a precaution. Seems too early to give up on the Muller experiment up front, especially since Pep has already been forced into one change.
Another Bayern sub? Mandzukic is also primed on the sidelines? Nowhere near as obvious this time as to who the sacrifice will be though.
Not quite so rosy for Kroos actually, as Gotze is spotted stripping down on the sidelines. It's quite obvious that the swap will be made shortly.
Kroos is back on his feet, as Bayern continue to dictate proceedings in front of their own fans. Hertha have done exceptionally well to snare themselves an early lead, but their threat on the counter is diminishing by the minute as they simply cannot get a hold of the ball.
Kroos seems to have over-exerted himself during that last spell, and the physios have been summoned to treat the midfielder on the pitch.
Kraft crafts a crafty save! Robben and Ribery link succulently on the left, and the latter squares up to a pair of Hertha defenders. Just when everyone was expecting the Frenchman to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he squares to the suddenly unmarked Kroos, who fires an immense effort from the corner of the box that the Hertha keeper did well to get his hand on.
Hang on though, as Schulz waltzes past the static Rafinha on the flank, advances down the byeline and tries to drill in a low cross that is just a little too close to Neuer!
Bayern wresting themselves back into contention during the last few minutes, after a shoddy opening to the match. Dominating possession in their usual manner, Die Roten have started to overload the box whenever the ball goes wide.
The hosts had a chance there to cause some problems to the visiting backline after Ribery won a perilous free kick against Pekarik, but the resulting delivery is poor, missing everyone in a red shirt and cleared.
NEARLY 2-0! What on earth is going on in the centre of Bayern's defence! An innocuous long ball forward is plucked down well by Ben-Hatira, and with Boateng bizarrely backing off, the attacker improvises with a lob on the turn that catches Neuer napping, but smacks back off the crossbar!
A lovely ebb and flow developing to this game. Hertha scoring first may be the best thing to have happened from a neutral point of view, as it forces Bayern out of their comfort zone very early in the match.
Hertha better not count their chickens just yet, as Bayern come storming forward in furious response. Ribery evades his man and tees up Schweinsteiger at the top of the box, but just as the midfielder is about to pull the trigger, Lustenburger blocks excellently!
Perhaps Contento was guillotined from the starting XI too soon! Boateng showing the sloppiness that made Manchester City sell him to Bayern Munich in the first place.
Assist Per Ciljan Skjelbred
Goal A. Ramos
Bayern, and Boateng in particular caught asleep at the wheel. The corner comes in from the right, and Ramos rises above the Germany international to guide a strong header into the far side!
HERTHA STUN THE ALLIANZ ARENA! 1-0!
With just over two minutes on the clock, Bayern duly record their first chance on goal. It was a lot better opening than it appeared at first glance, as Robben's in-swinging cross picked out Muller completely unmarked. If only the attacker had anticipated the ball a little earlier.
Here we go!
Here come the teams emerging from the tunnel. A bubbly atmosphere here in Munich.
Interesting to see Pep Guardiola line up without an out and out centre forward as well, with Mario Mandzukic sacrificed for Thomas Muller. The Germany international is really an all-purpose attacker though, capable of putting in a good shift leading the line with his movement and intelligence. Having said that, Pep could stick himself up front and I'd still expect Bayern to take the points here - they're simply too stacked.
Jerome Boateng returns to shore up a German-sized hole in the home side's central defence. He replaces Diego Contento, who started midweek against Viktoria Plzen, although, it should be noted that the left-back by trade was hardly tested against the embatled and overrun Czechs.
HERTHA: Kraft; Pekarik, Schulz, Langkamp, van der Bergh; Lustenberger, Hosogai; Cigerci, Ben-Hatira, Skjelbred, Ramos.
BAYERN: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, van Buyten, Alaba; Lahm; Robben, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Ribery; Muller.
Greetings everyone, and welcome to Bayern Munich's Bundesliga matchup with Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena. My name is Keeghann Sinanan, and I'll be taking you through it all this afternoon.
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